Highlights from the book
Galland’s Iowa Emigrant, 1840, by Isaac Galland
Page x, re: settling a new country, “To abandon the place of their nativity, and to forsake forever the society of those with whom they have been associated from infancy to manhood; to exchange the shrill tone of the city bell, for the howling of the wolf or the melancholy hooting of the owl; the busy hum of men and domesticated animals, for the distant murmur of the prairie hen, or the silent beauties of an undulating plain, ornamented with wild flowers of every tint; to be as it were exiled from society and deprived of many of those social enjoyments to which they have become attached by habit, are cirmumstances calculated to cool the ardor of enterprize in many bosoms.”
Page xi – xiv, re: Indians. The author disputed the reports of Indian cruelties and implied that the reports were unjust and untrue. He claimed to have spoken several Indian languages and wrote of his personal knowledge of the Indians and their ways.
Page 1 is a geographical description of the Iowa Territory which included land that became the states of Iowa and Minnesota, and part of the Dakota Territory. “From north to south, this district is a little short of 600 miles, and its average breadth is something more than 250 miles; affording sufficient territory for three States of ample dimensions. The whole extent of this vast country abounds with a fertile soil, a pure atmosphere and excellent water, and, in their several localities, are found many of the rich mineral deposits of the earth — the noisy cataract and the gently flowing stream, the smooth surface of the limpid lake and the turbid torrent of the Missouri, the expansive prairie and the almost endless variety of forest trees.”
Page 2 names the first settlers in the territory, all dead by 1840. The first farm in Iowa, on the bank of the Mississippi, was opened by Morrice Blondeau, a half Sauk Indian man. He planted corn.
Page 3 – In 1832 there were less than 50 whites in the territory. In November of 1839, according to Governor Lucas, there were 50,000. “If…. any thing of the ….half-horse and half-alligator character, so frequently ascribed to the western settlers, can be attributed to the citizens of Iowa, we can only admire the sudden transition…..”
Page 5 begins the description of the rivers and lakes in the territory. Page 10, re: the Wapsipinicon — “Wa-pe-se-pin-e-ka, or White Mineral river, is also a fine stream, abounding with water power and a good soil. This is regarded as the commencement of the mineral region, in ascending the Mississippi.”
Page 13 to 18 has more on Indians, by tribe. Then beasts, birds, and fruit of the territory, including the buffalo situation: “The Buffalo is found in abundance on Red Pipe Stone, Jacques or James, St. Peters and Red rivers; they continually recede before the white population, and are now only occasionally found on the head waters of the river Des Moines and Lower Iowa.” The most common of the wolves was the prairie wolf, a little bigger than a fox.
Page 22 -26 contain the speech made by Chief Black Hawk to the Sauk (Sac) and Fox Indians in the Spring of 1831, after receiving orders to move his people across the Mississippi to the west bank (hell no, we won’t go).
Page 27 has the (Federal) Act of Jan. 19, 1838 re: trespassing in the territory which was about filing a proper claim to land if you wanted to be there, not to exceed 320 acres to one person. There were land policies that preceded the Homestead Act of 1862.
Page 29 – 32 lists the officers of the territory including Governor Robert Lucas, the Indian agents, postmasters, land offices (Burlington and Dubuque in 1840 — Iowa City must have been soon after), and names the already-established counties and towns. Wyoming (established 1855) is included with John Sherfey as postmaster.
The final 6 pages of the book are a map of the Iowa Territory with rivers, lakes, and a few towns indicated. A joined map is folded in the back of the copy of this book at Wregie Memorial Library, Oxford Jct. Judy Nelson, July 2005